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ICRC brings aid to Misrata

A ship chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has delivered urgently needed supplies to the beleaguered Libyan town of Misrata.

The ICRC said that the ship, which arrived on Monday morning, had carried medical supplies for the hospital, spare parts to repair water and electrical supply systems, and baby food for the civilian population.

Distribution of the goods is being carried out in conjunction with volunteers of the Libyan Red Crescent society.

The vessel itself is to be used as a floating platform, from which the organisation can carry out its work and reach victims on the ground.

The organisation also said its staff have returned to the city, held by opponents of the government of Moammar Gaddafi, to bring aid to victims of the fighting and to visit people detained by the opposition forces. Another ICRC team is trying to help restore contact between family members who have become separated.

Misrata has been under siege for two months, and the port is its only connection with the outside world.

An ICRC official in the region expressed concern about reports of the misuse of its emblems for military purposes in Libya.

"The red cross and red crescent emblems are the distinctive signs set out in the Geneva Conventions for the purpose of indicating and protecting personnel, vehicles and facilities providing medical or other humanitarian aid.  They may not be used by bodies or persons not entitled to do so," he said.

On Saturday the opposition accused government forces of using helicopters bearing the red cross symbol to drop mines in the port of Misrata.


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